Writing Wednesdays: A post on character development

 How do you deal with character development in your writing? I share a few thoughts in this post.

Anonymous asked me to do a post on character development – ‘specifically focusing on how to write a character’s evolution over the course of a novel’. So, here’s a post on character development.

Sometimes, your novel might take place over such a short space of time that there isn’t much opportunity for character development.

For example – The Kissing Booth happens mostly over the course of only a few months, and so Elle doesn’t have much of an opportunity to ‘develop’, as such. So if it doesn’t feel realistic to you for your characters to develop a lot (unless there’s some huge impact on their life – apocalyptic events, death of a family member, etc.), then you don’t have to try and pressure yourself to do it if it doesn’t feel right to you.

On the other hand, you CAN still develop your characters even in a short space of time.

Sometimes, it totally depends on the characters. For example, in Out of Tune, Ashley decides to take charge of her life a bit more, and changes a bit by the end of the novel.

Think about how your characters might develop.

Will they become quieter, conceal their feelings more, stop faking being friends with people they don’t really like? Will they start laughing more, caring less about what people think of them, being more open and friendly?

You might like this post on writing relateable characters.

Think about the circumstances that your character goes through.

Think about your character’s existing qualities and how they will react in that situation. Think about how that might change them. I mean, you can consider all the possibilities and then start ruling out which ones won’t feel right with your character.

Think about how the people around your character might change, too.

Will that affect them much? Does a close friend or family member have a big impact on their life- if so, do they develop themselves and cause a change in your protagonist?

You can also experiment by thinking about the kind of person your character wants to be.

I mean, we all consider this alter-ego version of ourselves with all the qualities we’d like to have. And we all try and take on parts of this better-us that we can. Whether that’s someone who is smarter (your character starts studying more), someone who is more outgoing (your character tries to be spontaneous a bit more – maybe they can’t travel to Paris for an impromptu weekend, but they can go to the movies on a Wednesday night), someone who is more honest (maybe they stop pretending to like the same music as the people they’re hanging out with).

Think about that alter-ego better version of your character.

And think about how they are as you’ve imagined them. Try and start connecting the dots between the two.

Do you have any thoughts to share, or advice, on character development? I'd love to hear them in the comments!

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